Potential Obstacles

For the LGBTQ+ Community.

Substance Misuse:

While accurate numbers are difficult to obtain, LGB people are believed to use illicit drugs at a rate approximately 2.5 times greater than the heterosexual community. This is regarded as a conservative estimate. The higher rate of use found in the LGB communities has been, at least partially, attributed to the stress of living as a member of a stigmatized minority (Ostrown, 2000 cited in Banks, 2003).

Sharing needles and other drug-related paraphernalia can also lead to contracting blood borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C.

A summary of several studies looking at alcohol abuse in LGB communities identified that alcohol abuse among LGB communities occurs at a rate approximately 1.7 times greater than in non-LGB communities. That means that approximately 16% of the LGB population could be labeled as having an addiction to alcohol (Banks, 2003).

Several researchers have suggested that the higher rate of alcohol abuse in the LGB communities is linked to experiencing homophobia and heterosexism in their communities. In fact, when the LGB person is no longer in a homophobic environment, the intensity of alcohol-related problems is reduced (Banks, 2003).


Banks, Christopher. (2003). The Cost of Homophobia: Literature Review on the Human Impact of Homophobia in Canada. [Saskatoon, SK: Gay and Lesbian Health Services.]

Harris Interactive and GLSEN (2005). From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, A Survey of Students and Teachers. [New York: GLSEN.]

Mallon, G.P. (1994). Counselling Strategies for Gay and Lesbian Youth in Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth: New Policies, New Programs, New Practice. Decrescenzo, T. (Ed). Haworth Press. 75 – 91.

Patton, C. (2005). Anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Violence in 2004: A Report of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. [National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. New York, NY.]

Sullivan, C., Sommer, S., and Moff, J. (2001). Youth in the Margins: A Report on the Unmet Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adolescents in Foster Care. [New York: Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.]

Connoley, R. (2005) Statistics of GLB Homelessness. The Safe Schools Coalition [Online]
Available: http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org/RG-homeless.html

Taylor, Catherine et al. (2011). Every Class in Every School: Final Report on the First National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia in Canadian Schools [Online]
Available: http://egale.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/EgaleFinalReport-web.pdf